The Co-op has become the UK’s first supermarket to introduce check-out free shopping.
The firm’s no-queues policy means shoppers can simply pick up their groceries, scan them using an app on their phone – and the walk out without queuing at either self-service till or staffed checkout.
The new initiative, dubbed ‘shop, scan and go’, will allow time-pressed customers to complete payments on their phones, without visiting a till, reports The Mirror.
It’s currently being piloted at the Co-op’s retailer support centre store in Manchester, with a wider roll-out beginning this summer.
It is not yet known when the facility will come to Plymouth, or which of the city’s numerous stores will be the first to have it installed.
The scheme will allow customers to scan products on their own device as they walk around the store – known as a “frictionless shopping experience”.
When they have finished shopping, the amount they owe will then be deducted from their account with a single click.
In a statement, the community retailer said it’s seen the number of cash transactions in its stores rapidly reduce over the past few years in favour of alternative – electronic – payment methods.
Statistically, cash transactions have dropped by more than one fifth over the last five years, with a 15% fall in usage in the past 18 months alone.
Matthew Speight, at the Co-op, said: “It is a challenging market place for retailers, and the Co-op is responding positively.
“It is all about consumer choices and convenience. We listen to our Members and customers and we are investing in our stores, people, prices, products and technology.
“We recognise there are many communities where customers pop in to their local Co-op and enjoy a friendly chat – it is all part of the service. Whereas for others, perhaps with a train to catch or on a school run, every second can count as consumers seek increased convenience.”
Elliott Goldenberg, at Mastercard UK, added: ” We are bringing our online and mobile capability – Masterpass – into the physical store, and offering consumers who want a fast and frictionless buying experience, a secure and reliable way to pay.”
The technology also links information from a customer’s Co-op Membership account – telling shoppers how much they have saved and, how much the Co-op will donate to local good causes following the transaction.
Earlier this year the Co-op unveiled plans to open 100 new food stores in 2018.
It also announced a £50 million investment to cut the cost of everyday staples including fruit, vegetables, bread, fresh meat and ready meals, as well as household brand names.
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